Double standards on travel

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Tunisians will be hoping we will return as soon as possible when the “ban” is lifted.

On Sunday, as a result of the attacks on Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Tanto, President Sisi introduced a three-month state of emergency. At least 44 people died in the outrages and this is on top of twenty-five killed in a similar attack on a Coptic cathedral in Cairo last December.

Yet the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) hasn’t changed. It has warned travellers to those cities saying, “You should remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials, including in and around religious sites and during religious festivals.” The country is still open for UK passengers apart from parts of the Sinai region including Sharm el Sheikh.

In Tunisia, there is also a state of emergency but the FCO advisory on not travelling there is still in force. In the main areas that visitors used to visit there has been violence since 2015. What is the difference that that the FCO seems to see between these two North African countries?

Could it be that tourists were targeted in Tunisia whilst just church –goers were the targets in Egypt? Does the FCO believe that visitors stand more of a chance of being a target in Tunisia whilst that is not the case in Egypt? Tourist areas have been attacked in Egypt away from Sharm in the past. Yet there is no FCO ban on flights in the light of these atrocities on Coptic Christians.

the pyramids of Egypt

particularly as there is only a partial “ban” on travelling to Egypt.

In May 2016 in Tunisia, police rounded up some suspected terrorists before any harm could be done. I think I am right in saying that there have been no terrorist attacks on tourism enclaves for over eighteen months. Yet a virtual ban on travel to Tunisia still exists.

Is this not a bit of a double standard? If one country is to be denied British visitors because their insurance won’t cover them shouldn’t the same apply to another? And if it isn’t should thevirtual ban be withdrawn from the other?

When the Foreign Office minister responsible, Tobias Ellwood, met Tunisians in London on their national day a few weeks ago, no news was available about when the “ban” would be lifted.”  It would be helpful then if the government could explain why it has not lifted the ban or, alternatively, why one hasn’t been imposed on Egypt.



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